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Research Letter
August 2018

Risk of Heroin Dependence in Newly Incident Heroin Users

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Michigan State University, East Lansing
  • 2Center on Drug and Alcohol Research, Department of Behavioral Science, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington
  • 3Vermont Center on Behavior and Health, University of Vermont, Burlington
JAMA Psychiatry. 2018;75(8):863-864. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.1214

Some 30 to 50 US residents die of heroin overdoses each day.1 By comparison, an estimated 300 to 520 individuals start heroin use each day.2 For first-time users, these odds of overdose death might seem remote. For this reason, clinicians and public health practitioners deserve more compelling evidence to share with people who contemplate trying heroin. Seeking reproducible results via 15 US epidemiological samples, we estimate how often newly incident heroin users become dependent on heroin. Estimation focuses on the first 1 to 12 months after first heroin use.